Also Read in September

Also read in September

It’s hard to believe that I only posted one book review on my blog in September. I guess life got in the way. I was reading though. Here’s a round-up of my September titles…

Playing with Matches

By Carolyn Wall, 3 stars

There were moments I loved this book, but on the whole I was underwhelmed. The story felt fractured and, while that might have been an intentional author choice, it prevented me from feeling close enough to the characters. I just couldn’t get why people were doing the things they did. I really loved the southern setting, the language, and Clea as a little girl, painfully drawn back again and again to her whore of mother. But once Clea grows up and returns to the scene, the book was disjointed. I got the metaphor of the approaching hurricane, but the storm itself was anticlimactic. For this style of book I much prefer Jayne Phillip’s Lark and Termite.

My heart feels like some rickety place. Like there’s nowhere safe to put my feet. It has something to do, I think, with the way my houses keep falling down.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling, 4 stars

Finally finished listening to this one with my boys. Once again, I am so impressed by this series. I love how we each get something different out of these books. My oldest son (11) really gets the humor and some of the layers of interpretation. My youngest (7) just gets wrapped up in the action and drama. There’s nothing more rewarding than hearing, “I can’t wait to get back in the car to find out what happens next in the story.” I can’t add much more than has already been said by reviewers world-wide. I’m just glad to be on the bandwagon.

“Oh well… I’d just been thinking, if you had died, you’d have been welcome to share my toilet.”

One Amazing Thing

By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 3 stars

Easy, interesting read — almost a short story format as several people share one amazing story from their lives while trapped by an earthquake. I think the individual stories worked better than the book as a whole, which almost became trapped in its own format. I was especially intrigues by Mr. Pritchett’s childhood story which was such a contrast to the adult character as portrayed in the current-day narrative. While the book didn’t hold together well enough for me, I will watch this author for the future. She did make me ask myself  what story I would tell.

She had always been this way: interested-quite unnecessarily, some would say-in the secrets of strangers. When flying, she always chose a window seat so that when the plane took off or landed, she could look down on the tiny houses and imagine the lives of the people who inhabited them.”

Songs Without Words

By Ann Packer, 2 stars

GROAN! I should have given up on this book after 2 disks, but I had no other audio books in the car so I kept listening. Then, by the time i picked up my next book, I was half way in and felt the need to finish.
The three main characters in this book are all lost and faltering. Depression, suicide, despair kind of bad. That wouldn’t normally bother me in a book except that Packer worked through it at such a slow, plodding pace. I am a big Dive From Clausen’s Pier fan, so I’ll try her work again, but if this had been the first book by her I’d ever read, I’d stay far away. But here’s where the second star comes in…she writes people thoughtfully and compellingly. I like her characters. That’s why I couldn’t give up on the book. I needed to know. And, in fairness, I read this during a very sad time in my own life which may have tinted further my view of this book.

Sorry – no quotes – unless you want me to go into the multi-sentence description of picking up a telephone to check voicemail…


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this particular style post, but upon special request, I return with a book-themed play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. My Goodreads book club does an “Off the Shelf” challenge each month and this one has been on my to-read list for a long time. If it weren’t for the challenge I’m positive I would have stopped reading 50 pages in. This book is DARK, horrifying and speaks to all of my worst fears about motherhood. I am taking it very slowly. On a brighter note, I’m also listening to “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag” by Alan Bradley. This is the second book in the Flavia de Luce series and it’s a book that makes me smile, charming protagonist and engaging narrator.

What did you recently finish reading? “One Amazing Thing” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Another book club selection. It was fine, not great, but fine. Finished listening to “Songs Without Words” by Ann Packer, which was painful, overwritten and over-acted in the audio version. I’m still surprised I stuck through with this one until the end.

What do you think you’ll read next? I have a whole stack of titles just staring at me waiting to be opened and read. I’m leaning toward, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” based on the strong reviews from people I know.

What are your W…W…W… titles?